MEN S EXCEL STREAM: A GUIDE FOR PLAYERS AND THEIR PARENTS

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1 MEN S EXCEL STREAM: A GUIDE FOR PLAYERS AND THEIR PARENTS

2 CANADA SOCCER BELIEVES EVERY YOUNG PERSON DESERVES THE BEST POSSIBLE SOCCER EXPERIENCE. Whether they dream of playing for Canada s National Teams or one of its professional clubs, or simply want to achieve their own performance goals, taking the right approach with the country s most advanced players during their crucial development years will help them maximize their potential. MEN S EXCEL STREAM As part of the Canada Soccer Pathway, the Men s EXCEL stream led by Canada Soccer in collaboration with our provincial partners as well as the country s professional clubs and private academies will ensure more of Canada s exceptional young players find their way into the best competitive environments. Together, we are creating a new national structure to channel talent into professional clubs, and, ultimately, to our National Teams. OVER TIME, THIS FUNDAMENTAL TRANSFORMATION WILL PRODUCE: MORE TOP CANADIAN PLAYERS WITH THE WORLD-CLASS SKILLS NEEDED TO BE TRULY COMPETITIVE ON THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE.

3 WHAT IS EXCEL? Soccer has changed dramatically in recent years. The modern game at its highest level is constantly evolving. It is now built around highintensity, possession-based play where exceptional players with winning qualities make the difference. While Canada has produced high-caliber players over the years, many of whom are competing in the top leagues in Europe and North America, we need to develop more of these players more often if we are going to achieve our goal of becoming a leading soccer nation. Men s EXCEL Stream The Men s EXCEL stream is a new approach by Canada Soccer to unite and strengthen the ways we identify and develop our most promising young athletes from across Canada to help drive elite men s soccer forward. It has three primary goals: Goal 1 To achieve stronger performances by our Men s National Team and ensure long-term success for soccer in Canada. Goal 2 To create a formal talent structure and system that progresses more top players to the Men s National Team and professional clubs, more often. Goal 3 To align community development programs with the EXCEL talent structure and systems. Underpinning EXCEL is a constant drive to achieve and sustain the highest international standards at all levels of development from youth to senior teams. These can be understood as a series of worldclass player and team attributes that provide a guiding framework for coaches and administrators to continually assess, monitor and track performance.

4 MEN S EXCEL STREAM GUIDING PRINCIPLES While the Men s EXCEL stream is still in its early stages, the result will be an evidencebased, coordinated system that focuses on achieving technical perfection while developing the whole player across four corners of development: physical, mental, technical/tactical, and social/emotional. Physical Physical development, which emphasizes soccer-specific fitness so that players can meet the physical demands of every position at the highest levels of the game, while at the same time preventing injuries. 4 CORNER APPROACH Mental Mental development, which allows a player to directly impact their personal performances in training and matches by learning to cope effectively under pressure. This four corner approach is built around: Technical/tactical Technical/tactical development, which takes a process-oriented approach to developing players who can execute technical skills proficiently under pressure and with the tactical flexibility to adapt to any top opposition. Social/emotional Social/emotional development, which has an indirect impact on a player s performance and the performance of others through leadership, communication and other skills that promote a culture of growth and high performance.

5 WHERE WILL THIS APPROACH TAKE OUR BEST YOUNG PLAYERS? Entry into the Men s EXCEL stream begins with our provincial/territorial partners, who will act as talent scouts, identifying U-9 to U-12 athletes with the greatest potential many of whom may already be part of a high-performance program in their region. These young players of distinction will be offered exciting development opportunities, including an invitation to a Regional Identification Camp. These camps, run by Canada Soccer in collaboration with our provincial partners and Canada s professional clubs, are driven by a rigorous selection process involving all provincial Technical Directors. They are designed to test players mettle in a high-pressure environment. By the time they reach the U-13 level, many of the country s most promising young prospects from these ID camps may be selected to enter a program tied to one of Canada s professional clubs, which are key partners in the development of elite Canadian players. Canada Soccer is currently working with Canada s five professional teams the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Toronto FC, Montréal Impact, FC Edmonton, and the Ottawa Fury FC to develop a U-15/U-16 National Tournament that will give the country s top young players the opportunity to compete against their peers in a challenging environment that mirrors the Amway Canadian Championship. This, along with the creation of youth High-Performance Leagues for U-14 to U-16, will give exceptional young athletes even more access to high-quality training and competition in monitored environments that use a standardized national curriculum built around the four corners of development. This will widen the talent pool and ensure more of Canada s best young players are exposed to the best youth talent specialists in the country. Canada Soccer is working with our provincial/territorial partners to develop these High-Performance Leagues. In addition to the Regional ID Camps, both the U-15/U-16 National Tournament and High- Performance Leagues will provide an avenue for National Team coaches to identify and monitor up-and-coming talent including late bloomers who are still honing their skills. Those players who demonstrate their ability to meet the highest international standards may eventually sign a professional contract and may also be chosen to represent their country on the world stage as part of Canada s National Teams program. This program is built on an eight-year cycle, and ensures the most promising players have maximum playing time. Key benchmarks for learning and development in the program are the FIFA U-17 and FIFA U-20 World Cups, Olympic Games, Pan-Am Games, as well as the pinnacle event: the FIFA World Cup.

6 MEN S EXCEL STREAM WILL HELP DEVELOP A PROACTIVE CANADIAN PLAYING STYLE, where players are encouraged to display an offensive style based on possession and quick ball movement, generating an ever-increasing number of goal-scoring opportunities and culminating in consistent winning performances at pinnacle events. BRIDGES THE GAP BETWEEN RECREATIONAL AND HIGH PERFORMANCE, by identifying promising players and guiding them into the best competitive and training environments Canada has to offer, allowing for continuous growth and monitoring of future National Team players. PUTS THE BEST WITH THE BEST, allowing the most talented players regionally and nationally to train with each other and be challenged by their peers in high-quality competitive environments. TAKES A PLAYER-CENTRED APPROACH TO COACHING, empowering players to become responsible for their own development, and encouraging them to become self-aware, self-sufficient and able to make informed decisions around their individual growth. It is rare nowadays for a player to reach the highest levels of soccer without exposure to a well-designed player development program. The game has evolved; players are quicker, faster and stronger, more tactically aware and more technically proficient. Soccer in the future will be dependent on well-rounded, technically superior players who can make clever and creative decisions quickly. GIVING CANADA S BEST SOCCER PLAYERS EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO REACH THEIR PERFORMANCE POTENTIAL is at the heart of achieving our goal of qualifying for, and successfully competing in, every FIFA competition. The systematic and coordinated approach to talent development provided through the Men s EXCEL stream, delivered in collaboration with our provincial/territorial partners, professional clubs and private academies, will help us get there.

7 ANADA RMATION ON C FO IN E R O M R FO EXCEL AY AND MEN S W TH PA ER C C SO SE VISIT STREAM, PLEA.COM/M-EXCEL ER C CANADASOC Sport Canada pch.gc.ca British Columbia bcsoccer.net Alberta albertasoccer.com Soccer New Brunswick soccernb.org Soccer Nova Scotia soccerns.ns.ca Nunavut facebook.com/nunavut SoccerAssociation FC Edmonton fcedmonton.com/ Prince Edward Island peisoccer.com Impact de Montréal impactmontreal.com Newfoundland and Labrador nlsa.ca Ottawa Fury FC ottawafuryfc.com Saskatchewan Soccer Association sasksoccer.com Manitoba Soccer Association manitobasoccer.ca Northwest Territories nwtkicks.ca Toronto FC torontofc.ca Ontario ontariosoccer.net Vancouver Whitecaps FC whitecapsfc.com Fédération de soccer du Québec federation-soccer.qc.ca Yukon yukonsoccer.yk.ca CANADA SOCCER PATHWAY PARTNERS

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